Review

  • An unusually strong supporting cast (including Crispin Glover, Robert Forster, Eugene Levy and Anne Meara) enlivens this simple family comedy built around the appealing young actor Lil' Bow Wow. He plays an orphan who, upon finding a magical pair of sneakers, becomes an NBA superstar and in the process befriends another player (Morris Chestnut) with his own family problems. Bow Wow will have an appeal to children of various ages because his own age seems indeterminate; he can act like a teenager (managing various relationships in the orphanage, rallying his teammates) or a pre-teen (gorging himself on so much food he gets sick, saying his prayers at bedtime); and his winning smile makes him non-threatening to adults. There's absolutely nothing that isn't predictable here and the film itself culls themes and sequences from other family films such as `Home Alone' and `E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'. There's also nothing objectionable either: it's barely above the level of a Disney Channel movie so kids will gobble it up, which isn't a bad thing. The NBA had a hand in making the film in an obvious attempt to improve its bad boy image, and naturally most of the real players come off as kindly, caring and ready to perform good works. (Fortunately, there are exceptions: Allen Iverson doesn't play cute and Gary Payton treats Bow Wow as an equal on the court, making him pay.) Not bad for its genre--that supporting cast definitely helps, especially the always-welcome Glover and Levy--but hardly memorable.